Sun Tzu’s seminal text The Art of War contains wisdom that can be applied beyond the 2nd Century BC battlefield. Suffuse your marketing with the ancient Chinese general’s eternally astute teachings:
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
Translation – Employ subtlety in marketing, avoid antagonising the consumer.
“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.”
Translation – Be different. Take the chance to stand apart from the deluge of insipid marketing messages and capture the consumer’s attention and loyalty.
“Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.”
Translation – Don’t follow the competition who shout the loudest – rely on content and engender a relationship with consumers. Marketing can be a conversation.
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go
to war first and then seek to win.”
Translation – Have a clearly defined marketing strategy before launching a campaign.
“Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”
Translation – Market effectively by appealing to consumers – avoid alienating them with a hard-sell.
“Opportunities multiply as they are seized”
Translation – Take advantage of new marketing routes provided by the advancing technology and changing consumer habits.
“Earth gives birth to length. Length gives birth to volume. Volume gives birth to counting. Counting gives birth to weighing. Weighing gives birth to victory.”
Translation – Details and data. Great marketing relies on efficient recording, measurement and interpretation of every facet of your campaign.
“If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.”
Translation – Acknowledge change. Ignorance of evolution in the media ecosystem and consumers’ avoidance of marketing messages risks disaster.
“Put them in a spot where they have no place to go, and they will die before fleeing.”
Translation – Become essential – offer the consumer more than an advertisement, use marketing to be truly useful and brand loyalty will flourish.
“The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.”
Translation – Remember your role as a marketer: build a powerful brand through engagement of consumers, without overtly seeking recognition – this will come naturally with success.
Heed these perceptive words and adapt your marketing to negotiate today’s ever-changing media landscape.